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Meditations on the Life and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
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THE FORTY-FIRST CHAPTER.

A devout confession and prayer for sins.

O Jesus, inexhaustible abyss of patience, Whose nature is goodness, to Whom it belongeth ever to have mercy, and to spare, behold I, the greatest of sinners, whose sins are more in number than the sand of the sea, throw myself at Thy pierced feet, waiting for Thy immense goodness, and Thy great mercy, which Thou didst show Thy tormentors, when they fastened Thee to the Cross, and humbly trusting that Thou wilt not refuse me this same grace. Wherefore, with great love I embrace Thy holy Cross with my arms, and with all lowliness, and devotion, and reverence, I adore Thee, my God, and Lord, and Saviour, hanging upon the Cross, crowned with thorns, pierced with nails, racked in all Thy members, covered with blood, disfigured with wounds, despised, mocked at, forsaken, full of all pain within and without, tormented by the draught of vinegar and gall.

O Jesus, Eternal Sweetness, I, a foul sinner, in the bitter grief of my heart, confess to Thee my grievous sin, and that I am the cause of Thy bitter Passion, and have inflicted upon Thee these Thy grievous torments, by my grievous sins. Of a truth, Thou hast suffered far more from me than from those who crucified Thee, for the wrong and the contempt which Thou foresawest that I should bring upon Thy Father, gave Thee more grievous pain than those cruel wounds of Thy Body. Nor is it once only that I have crucified Thee, but my whole life long. Of Thy tormentors, indeed, it is written: “Had they known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory,” but I, indeed, wicked that I am, have known Thee, and yet have crucified Thee times without number, and I have wounded and mocked Thee, and shed even Thy precious Blood. For why did Thy precious Blood flow forth so abundantly from Thy Body, except because, like the grape, Thou wert pressed out under the grievous weight of my sins? Why were Thy wounds so many, except because of my numberless sins? For because I myself have increased my sins, Thou also didst multiply Thy pains. And what else is the gall and vinegar which Thou drankest, but my bitter and wicked actions, which I offered to Thy lips? From whom hast Thou suffered so many mockeries as from me, when I feared not to anger Thee, the King of Israel, yea, and I confess, of heaven and of earth, and so adorable and worshipful a Lord, by despising Thy holy commandments! What else have I done to Thee, except with the sacrilegious Jews to blaspheme Thee, and say: “Come down from the Cross; never more will I consent to sin, or transgress Thy law:” and then straightway I have crucified Thee again. Yet not even after sins such as these, and after all the wrongs I have done Thee, do I in any way despair of Thy grace and mercy; but full of trust, I confess to Thee my wanderings, for many are the signs of Thy mercy. Of a truth, I have fastened Thy feet with rough nails, that they should not turn away from me, but wait with long-suffering, until I do penance. Thy arms are stretched out to embrace me; Thy head is bowed down to kiss me, and to hear my suppliant prayers. Thy Heart is opened, and Thou invitest me to enter into it, promising me a draught of new wine, that my heart may be made glad, for Thou sayest: “Come to Me, all ye who labour in the tillage of My vineyard; and prepare a pleasant bed for Me. Come to Me, all ye who have begun to fight manfully against your sins, and who are striving to avoid this world, given up, as it were, to vice. Come to Me, all ye who labour, and are burdened with the load of sin, with the weight of penance, and the cross of affliction, and I will refresh you, and feed you; and I will give you to drink out of My glorious soul, that red wine, which I have mingled for you, for were it not diluted, it would be stronger than you could bear.”

Wherefore, O good Jesus, I wait, not only for that love which Thou showest to Thy friends, but for that, too, which Thou showest to Thine enemies, and I contemplate that loving-kindness of Thine, with which Thou prayest so lovingly for those who crucified and blasphemed Thee. I beseech Thee, most tender Lord, let this Thy prayer be of profit to my wretched soul. For although I have crucified Thee, yet was not this done by me with the same malice as by the wicked Jews; but overcome by human frailty, I have done it. Nor have I sinned that I might treat Thee with contempt, but that I might gratify my senses. Whatever sin, then, I may have committed by the consent of delight, I will correct with the bitterness of penance, and I will wash away with hot streams of tears. I cry out to Thee, indeed, but not as the Jews: “If Thou art the Son of God, save Thyself;” but, “because Thou art the Eternal Son of God, save me Thy servant.” I pierce Thee not with nails, I transfix not Thy side with a spear; but I wound Thy Heart by my prayers, and the fiery darts of my desires, and tender love. Oil! for even one little drop, I pray Thee, from Thy open side, to fall down into my sick and wounded soul, and then I shall be saved. O glorious King of heaven and earth, remember me, for now Thou hast come into Thy kingdom. O true Son of God, Who sittest now at the Right Hand of Thy Father, remember my poor soul, which is held captive in the prison of this world. Cause me to hear a word of mercy, even that word of comfort which Thou spakest to the thief, when Thou saidst: “This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” And this will be soon done, if Thou drawest me away from out of the midst of sin. For then straightway will my soul be joined to Thee; that it may rest in Thee, Who art the paradise of spiritual delights, the rest and full content of the blessed. For in Thee, the paradise of pleasure, have we everlasting rest, and being, and nothing can cast us out therefrom, save sin alone. Take, then, sin away, O Thou Who art the Lamb without spot, that takest away the sins of the world, and then I shall be made one with Thee, and shall most truly be in paradise.

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